…Over Use of Police Against Political Opponents
The right of Ghanaians to freely participate in demonstrations in the country are guaranteed by our constitution. When civil society sees wisdom in political agitations about the need for a new voter’s register ahead of the 2016 elections, and proceeds to organize a demonstration to submit a petition to the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, a visionary police force should be a happy facilitator of the exercise considering that the move seeks to forestall potential post-election civil conflict that would become a bigger headache for the police. Rather, the myopic Ghana Police not only stood in the way of this patriotic gesture, but turned an otherwise peaceful demonstration into a violent one.
Thousands of protesters joined the Let My Vote Count Alliance march to demand that the Electoral Commission compiles a new voters’ register for the 2016 general elections since the current one is bloated. Hours into the protest, the marchers clashed with the police over the route they wanted to use. The protesters had wanted to go to the Electoral Commission’s premises to present their petition, but having secured an injunction from the court, the police resisted this. With a stalemate lingering, the police resorted to the use of water cannons, batons, rubber bullet, tear gas among others to disperse the agitated crowd.
NPP-USA is appalled by the police brutality resulting from a shameful lack of professionalism by the police leadership, which has emerged as a result of an out-of-shape IGP bent on doing his master’s bidding. Or is the IGP connecting the dots between a clean voters’ register and the end of his tenure? Why is Mahama and the NDC so afraid of a new and cleaned voters’ register when just about anyone with eyes have come to the conclusion that the current one is hopelessly bloated?
Mahama and his IGP must know that a police force of some 30,000 will be no match to 27 million Ghanaians when the time comes for us to rise up in unison no matter what weaponry they wield. Mahama and his IGP and his EC Chair must know that there is no amount of ammunition and savagery from the police that will stop citizens’ demand for a credible voters’ register to replace the one they used to rig the 2012 elections to maintain their illegal hold onto power.
Mahama must take a cue from his twin brother Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and allow the people to freely choose who should lead them. When the dye was cast, Jonathan saw wisdom in allowing the process to advance uninterrupted. Today he is wiser and enjoying his post presidency life, which is better than Egypt’s Mubarrak, or Libya’s Ghadaffi who stood in the way of the will of the people. Having woefully failed on all counts as president and facing an inevitable 2016 defeat at the polls, Mahama’s attempt to use the police and other security forces to maintain a hold on leadership will also fail. And the sooner he gets this message, the better for him as well as for the nation as a whole.